Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hungarian garlic-flavored pork and potato dish

Sorry for not posting in a while, I have some big changes lying ahead of me in my life, that need my full attention right now. However, I have some recipes waiting to be shared, so here is a great one.
This is a typical Hungarian dish, with lots of garlic. It is very satisfying, though I admit it is not the healthiest one (which is true for many Hungarian food). 

Hungarian garlic flavored port and potato dish

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grilled sandwich in the woods

Last weekend, we went on a getaway to the mountains, and spent a really nice time hiking in the autumn forest, reading and making food on fire. For dinner, we ate thick slices of bacon, sausage and onion grilled on a piece of stick over the fire, along with lots of fresh veggies, of course. Making this bacon-sausage-onion combo in the woods is one of my top favorite things. It is so relaxing, and so rewarding! On one morning, I decided to lit a fire again, and make a grilled sandwich on it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cranberry and coconut oatmeal cookies

Yesterday I had an urge to eat cookies, so I checked my pantry to see what is available. I realized that to make an oatmeal cookie, I didn't need much other than my usual breakfast oatmeal mixture I keep on my counter. As it is already mixed with nuts and dried fruits, I just had to add sugar, flour, an egg and some butter, and it was ready to be baked.

Cranberry and coconut oatmeal cookies

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hungarian-style ratatouille

Letcho is is a very common dish in Hungary often referred to as Hungarian ratatouille, even if it is quite different. It is basically stewed tomatoes and peppers, with onions and sausage and sometimes eggs. Traditionally, it is made with lard instead of oil. If you are not afraid of greasy dishes, it of course tastes better with lard. It is a very cheap and simple dish. Letcho is mostly made in late summer and autumn, when tomatoes and bell peppers are abundant and very ripe. People also preserve them in jars, just like jams, so they can eat it in the winter, too. There are many variations to it, and of course everybody makes the only right kind of letcho. I make it with eggs, as it is more tasty and thick that way.

Letcho, Hungarian stewed tomato and pepper with sausage and eggs

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A French upside-down apple pie: Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is a super-easy, very fast cake with caramelized apples, and it tastes awesome. It may look a bit sturdy, but who cares?
The story behind this cake is that the sisters Calorine and Stéphanie Tatin, who ran a famous inn in a little town in central France once forgot to make desert, because they were chatting with a guest. By the time Stephanie realized her mistake, there was very little time left to serve the desert. So she tossed in the oven some peeled apples with butter and sugar, and while they were being baked, she made some dough. As the dough was prepared after the apples, she had no choice but to cover the apples with the dough. When it was ready, she realized that it can be served upside-down, so that the apples are on the upper side.

Tarte Tatin, the French upside-down apple pie

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Summer rice salad

This is a very colorful and versatile rice salad, it has tuna, artichokes, capers, tomatoes, onions and diced cheese in it.

rice salad tuna artichokes cheese tomato capers onion

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

American cake

This is a cake my boyfriend baked during the week-end, and it has turned out superbly. I do not know why is it called ’American’, we found it in our 'Cakes and cookies' cookbook. It has a sweet, buttery dough as a base, layered with whipped egg whites and lemon cream, and the whole cake is covered in lemon flavored thickened whipped cream, which makes it really fabulous.

American cake

For the dough
125 g (4.4 oz) butter
325 g (11.5 oz) sugar 
4 eggs
250 g (8.8 oz) flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of milk
For the filling and cover
3 lemons
100 g (3.5 oz) sugar
3 teaspoons of starch
500 ml (17 oz) double cream


Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Mix well the egg yolks with the flour, baking powder and milk, then combine with the butter mixture. Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F). Pour half of the dough in a 26 cm (10 inches) cake mold and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar to it, and whisk again. Spread half of the foam on the nearly baked dough, and bake for another 10 minutes. Set aside, and bake the remaining dough and egg white foam in the same manner. Let it cool. 
Squeeze the lemon juice,  mix with the 100 g (3.5 oz) sugar and add 120 ml (4 oz) water. Boil it, then mix the starch with 2 tablespoons of water, and add to the boiling lemon juice mixture. Mix until it thickens, then let it cool down. 
Whip the double cream, and little by little add the lemon mixture to it. Spread some of it on one layer of the cake, then cover with the other one. Spread the remaining lemon flavored whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake. You can serve it immediately, or you can put it the refrigerator until the cream sets completely.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mushroom stew with paprika and noodles

Mushroom stew with noodles is one of my favorite meals. The mushroom stew is made with sour cream and paprika, and noodles are freshly made.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An epic fail, or how I invented cottage cheese polenta

Is it normal that when I realized that I completely failed at preparing dinner, I was more sorry for my perfectly planned blog post than the dinner itself? I guess not. This is not a story when something goes wrong, but the outcome turns out to be miraculously good, but I think it is funny, so I wanted to share anyway.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Camembert and caramelized fig quiche

I bought some fresh figs at the market, because I decided it's time to incorporate them into my "repertoire", and to learn how to prepare them. I also have a faint attraction towards them, because my Mom keeps telling me how I used to love figs when I was two years old. And I haven't eaten any figs ever since. 
So having bought the figs, I started to think about ways to use them, and ideas for great combinations. After browsing through several fig related blog posts and recipes, I concluded that figs are supposed to go well with thyme and cheese, so there was my combination, I just had to think of how to interpret it. Finally, I decided to make a quiche.

Camembert and caramelized fig quiche

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A great recipe from Tuscany to use up leftover bread

I guess the problem of having leftover bread is fairly common in most households. It is nearly impossible to buy the right amount of bread that will not go stale, but is still enough for everybody in the family. Even though I really hate throwing out food, I quite often just don’t know what else to do with pieces of dry bread. I know that one can grind the bread and use it as breadcrumb, but seriously, who uses that much breadcrumb?
Luckily, having leftover bread has always been a problem for housewives, so they have already come up with solutions, we just have to learn them! I was really excited to learn this new recipe, and I know I won’t throw out bread any more: there is a so much better use for it!
Panzanella, the Tuscan bread salad (from leftover bread)

Monday, September 17, 2012


This weekend, my boyfriend decided to bake something, and he chose baklava, a traditional Greek/Turkish/middle eastern desert. So far, I've tasted baklava only in kebab places, and I thought that they tasted OK, but their sweetness is a little bit overwhelming. Now, it changed completely.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grilled cheese sandwich with bell pepper and bacon

I really felt like a grilled cheese sandwich today, partly because I have stumbled upon some great recipes lately (for example this and this one), but mostly because the autumn has suddenly arrived with chilly wind and lots of rain.  I know rain is good, especially after such a dry summer, but I wasn’t very happy about it while I was biking to work. A warm sandwich with lots of melted cheese is a great comfort food for me, so I made one with a few extras.

Grilled cheese sandwich with bell pepper and bacon

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple and ham salad with mayonnaise

This is a salad I love to take with me to work for lunch, as it makes a very refreshing change from boring sandwiches. It takes minutes to prepare and doesn’t need anything that I don’t usually have in my fridge. The combination of apple and mayo comes from my mother who prepared it for sandwiches when we had guests, and I was always looking forward to having them- both guest and the apple-mayo sandwiches. When I started to make it on my own, I added ham and eggs to make a whole meal from it.

Apple and ham salad with mayo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mushrooms stuffed with sheep cottage cheese and bacon

Cottage cheese made of sheep milk has a great, very distinctive taste. We usually eat it with gnocchi and bacon, but it works really well with mushrooms, too. If sheep cottage cheese is not available in your country, use a mixture of feta and sour cream or ricotta and sheep cheese. Or goat cheese with something that will make it more creamy. Maybe you will find sheep cheese as pecorino, and sheep cottage cheese as ricotta di pecora, as the Italian versions may be more widespread.

Mushrooms stuffed with sheep cottage cheese and bacon

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Basil and strawberry ice cream without an ice cream maker

I chose Basil and Strawberry as a name of my blog, because I love them both, and I think their combination is so good, I can't even describe. Early summer I tasted a strawberry-basil soup in a restaurant, and it was the best food I have EVER had, no exaggeration. Unfortunately, it was only a weekend offer, so I couldn't have it next time we went back there. But the taste remained with me, and I was planning to use the combination of strawberry and basil in a homemade ice cream ever since. 
I am a huge ice-cream fan, so I got super-excited, when I learnt how to make them at home, without owning an ice-cream maker. It is actually quite simple, you just need eggs, sugar, double cream, and even in a simple freezer, it will turn out surprisingly creamy, guaranteed.

Basil and strawberry homemade ice cream

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A great weekend breakfast: omlette with stewed veggies

I love to make an omlette on a weekend morning, and try different fillings. For example, spinach and ricotta is a great combination, or I simply use cheese, fresh tomatoes and basil. As I was reading about this great middle-eastern egg dinner with stewed tomato and peppers, I realised that combining stewed veggies with eggs is a common thing here in Hungary, but we generally eat the eggs scrambled. This gave me the idea to go for omlettes instead, and use the stewed tomato and peppers as a filling. 

tomato and pepper stew omlette

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Honey yogurt layered with sweet chestnut purée and cherry jam

This is a light and super quick desert, that doesn’t require any baking or cooking. At first, I threw it together from leftovers that I layered in a glass, so this desert it is quite random, but as it turned out great, I continued to make this since.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mushroom salad with mayonnnaise

This is a recipe that I have learnt from my grandmother. She makes mushroom salad with mayonnaise, along with a lots of other things every time the whole family gets together. I can’t get enough of it, so I wanted to make it on my own. It makes a quick, simple and very satisfying dinner.

dinner recipe sandwich

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Puff pastry bites filled with chicken liver paté and onion

This is a recipe I belive to have come up with on my own, though I guess I am not the first one on Earth. Anyway, I am proud of my little puff pastry bites, especially the creamy chicken liver paté filling.

chicken liver paté puff pastry dinner recipe

Monday, September 3, 2012

The best breakfast to start your day

To give your day an energizing, healthy start, try this wonderful fruity oatmeal recipe with fresh fruit. I eat this every weekday before setting off to work. It is super simple, very quick to prepare in the morning and very-very nourishing.

How to save tomatoes for winter

If you have tomatoes in your garden, or simply do not want to buy canned tomatoes throughout the winter, you can prepare your own conservated tomatoes. Below, I present a 100% natural recipe, no preservatives. To save the tomatoes, you have to cook and can them, similarly to making jam. 

The classic Italian pizza

Everybody loves pizza, though most people just decide to order it, or buy a frozen one. The authentic Pizza Margherita is so easy to make, you should definitely give it a try.


Welcome to Basil and Strawberry, a blog about food I love to make and love to eat. I will post great recipes I regularly make. I am a phd student in mechanical engineeering, and an enthusiastic cook. I am trying to provide a healthy, balanced diet for my boyfriend and myself, following traditional recipes from different countries and sometimes experimenting on my own. As I am Hungarian, my recipes are often inspired by traditional Hungarian cooking, but my favorite cookbook is an Italian one, called The Silver Spoon. I enjoy trying any nation's authentic recipes. I love to eat well, but I have only a very small budget for it. I realised that very often, the simplest meals are extraordinarily good and also very cheap to make, if I use fresh ingredients and prepare most things at home.